Imagine being surrounded by playful, mischievous puppies zipping acrobatically by you, sneaking up behind you to play tag, nipping at your limbs, and just generally having lots of fun. That’s what it’s like being in the water with sea lions.
I’m planning to visit Western Australia in early January 2007 to snorkel among friendly Australian sea lions (Neophoca cinerea). Yeah!
In my view, these are absolutely the cutest, most adorable of sea lions. They have light-blond hair, big puppy-dog eyes, and incredibly curious and friendly dispositions. Unfortunately, they are among the most endangered of pinnipeds, with an estimated population of only about 12,000; they’re protected, so hopefully their numbers will grow.
Unlike with some of the other places I visit, this isn’t going to be a difficult trip. I’ll be staying at a hotel in Perth (hence luxuries like hot water, restaurant food, TV, and all the other things I don’t have on other trips), and will be getting up early to catch the sea lions when they’re most active and playful. It’s a short drive to the sea lion colony, so you won’t need to worry about being stuck on a boat.
I’ll be there with photographer Takaji Ochi from Japan, and a few friends from Japan will be joining us as well.
Since we’ll just be snorkelling, you don’t have to be a diver and won’t need a lot of gear. The water will be a bit chilly, around 20ºC to 22ºC, so you’ll either need to have your own temperate-water wetsuit and hood, or we should be able to arrange rental suits.
Obviously, it’s best if you’re good at snorkelling/ swimming and can dive down, play around, and otherwise attract attention to yourself. The sea lions will play with everyone, but the more you play, the more they respond.
We’ll be in shallow, protected waters, so the conditions should be fairly easy, and the sea lions don’t venture far, so it won’t be difficult to find them. And if you’re keen on underwater photography, the Australian sea lions are about as attractive and cooperative a subject as you can hope for.
We’re still working out the specific itinerary and other trip details, but generally, we’re shooting for the second week of January (starting around the 6th) and staying for a week or two.
We have a few spaces open, so if you’re interested in frolicking with these irresistibly cute animals, drop me a line via my contact form.
[tags]Underwater Photography, Western Australia, Sea Lion[/tags]